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Nats Veering Toward All-Star Mockery


(Photo via Khudak11 Twitter feed.)

Getting all my bad stuff out of the way before Write Only Good Things About the Nats Week commences....

Meet Kyle. Kyle is a Nats fan. On the night pictured here, he voted 501 times to send Nats to the All-Star game.

I like Kyle for many reasons: because he's smiling, and because he's not the sort of fearful disaster-sensing Nats fan who believes it's time to hide in his basement and drown his sorrows in Crispix, and because he has pride in his team the same way I have pride in my neighborhood (even on the days I find an empty six-pack of Heineken, several cigarette butts, a sticky Strawberry-Kiwi fruit drink and three empty bags of various flavored potato chips on my lawn), and because he was kind enough to e-mail me. But sometimes pride can lead you to strange places, places that are better imagined than visited in person.

I think I wrote one or two words last winter about the Vote the Redskins Ticket campaign, which threatened to undermine the sanctity of the Pro Bowl As We Know It by making the NFC roster 85 percent burgundy and gold.


For the record, things worked out ok, with only a normal number of players from a slightly above-average 8-8 team earning trips to Hawaii. Also for the record, other sports are veering even closer to lunacy, with eight of the top 11 MLS vote-getters hailing from Seattle.

But this is a blog about D.C. sports, and so we turn to the Nationals, on pace for one of the worst records in MLB history, the butt of countless national jokes, and a team that, based on wins and losses, should probably donate its one mandated All-Star Game roster spot to the International League. Nah.

"We know that we haven't been winning on the field, but we've got some guys that are performing, and so we want to promote those guys," Nationals spokeswoman Chartese Burnett told the Wash Times. "We're optimistic and are being very vigilant. It's important to us and a source of pride. We certainly, absolutely believe that Ryan deserves to go, as does Dunn and some of the other guys."


More from the Times:

Last week, the team held a contest encouraging fans to turn in hundreds of paper ballots. The fan who handed in the most won a chance to watch the team's batting practice from the field. On June 2, the team gave out "Vote for Nats" T-shirts with a list of eligible players on the back.

Carolyn Lantry, a writer from Arlington...estimates she has filled out more than 2,000 paper ballots with help from her mother. There is no limit to how many paper ballots fans can turn in. Lantry arrived at Nationals Park with 600 paper ballots last week, trading her ballots for some game-used balls and a lineup card.

Attempted mockery or not, Ryan Zimmerman is second among NL third basemen, and Adam Dunn is 12th among outfielders. (Full results here.) And yes, being an individual-driven statistically-measured game, you can certainly argue that multiple players from wretched teams might be all-star worthy, that a third basemen (even one with the yips) shouldn't be punished for his team's bullpen, and that local pride alone dictates a vote for Zim and another for Dunn. Fine, fine and fine. But still, you just can't have an all-star campaign for a team that's threatening to be the worst in the history of the game.

(Now, if someone wants to campaign for, say, a second Cap to make the NHL's all-star game next year, I'll keep my mouth shut.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 17, 2009; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  Nats , Redskins  
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Next: The New York Media Tee Off on the Nats

Comments

Silly Seattle Sounders fans...they're n00bz, so they don't realize that the MLS all-star game is simply an opportunity for your best players to tire themselves out and/or get injured playing in a meaningless exhibition game in the middle of the summer. Savvy MLS fans know better than to vote for their team's stars.

As for the Nats...these days, the less said, the better.

Posted by: EdTheRed | June 17, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Yeahbut, what about the long, proud tradition of All-Star Players from sucky teams? Sure, they're slumping now, but our offense led the league in a number of categories this season. We fans just need to get to the point where we can stuff the ballot boxes as well as the Chicago, Boston, and New York fans. Maybe we need a big DC MLB political machine? ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't that t-shirt given out two weeks ago? What's the big deal?

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | June 17, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I kept voting an all-Nats ballot just to cause heartburn to whatever poor guy is stuck counting the paper ballots. "Really? The NATIONALS?! 50 times?"

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 17, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

There is a player from every team that goes to the All-Star game. The coaches select the pitchers (and we won't likely have one going this year), so that means that it will be a position player that fans can vote on! Ryan Zimmerman is in 2nd place for NL third baseman behind Mets' David Wright. How great would it be to have Ryan Zimmerman to pass his old VA Beach buddy Wright to be the starter athe All-Star game in St. Louis?

Nats fans (and Phillies fans since they hate the Mets) should vote as much as possible for Ryan Zimmerman!!

Why Zim? The Nationals do not have a winning season, however, Ryan Zimmerman did have an incredible first month of the season and matched George Brett's 30-game hitting streak for the longest by a third baseman. The 30 game streak is the second longest for the franchise (Vladimir Guerrero has the record at 31 with Expos). Ryan is also the Nats best defensive player.

The Orioles announced an incentive back in April during the first week of the voting. O's are offering a free ticket to a non-prime home game after the break if you select the Orioles as as your "favorite" or "other favorite" Club the maximum 25 times between Wed., April 22 and Thu., July 2 or $5 off one (1) regularly priced ticket if you simply do it once.
http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/bal/fan_forum/allstar_offers.jsp

I also just discovered that the Tigers are having voting parties!
http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/fan_forum/ballot_sweeps.jsp?partnerId=ed-2649588-86565900&source=ed-2649588-86565900

Other teams are doing this so I say, get out there and vote Nats fans for your favorite Nationals!

Posted by: ilovethenats | June 17, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

One more thing - punching ballots is a great way to pass the time at the ballpark during the many rain delays!

Posted by: ilovethenats | June 17, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

For me it is also about pride. Zimmerman will never be "better than David Wright" no matter how well he plays. And he plays pretty well! So I will keep voting for him (and I have been voting a lot) because I think that he not only deserves to go to the ASG, but he deserves to be in a fight for a starting position.

I do have to admit that I am guilty of voting against someone (or two). In the NL at shortstop, I keep voting for Hanley Ramirez not because I like him in any way shape or form but because I don't want Jimmy Rollins to start at short (the few Phillies the better). In the AL, I keep voting for Kevin Youklas because I don't want Texieria to start. Not only do I not like him, but I thought it was silly that someone batting below the Mendoza line was in the lead (he is now batting *much* better, although I still don't like him).

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | June 17, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I've also voted early and often, LurkerNowPoster. I like your voting against tactic. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

“…But still, you just can't have an all-star campaign for a team that's threatening to be the worst in the history of the game.”

Are you saying that a very good player on the worst team does not deserve to go? So Zim should not get a chance because his team is the worst in MLB? The All-Star team should be comprised of players who are having good years, doing good things, playing well. Can you honestly tell me that in years past there have not been players on great teams who personally are having terrible or so-so years (i.e., not an All-Star quality year) yet still got many of the fan votes just because of their overall popularity or reputation? I can’t say I know the history of every All-Star game, but I would guess that there have been players not doing their best that year who made the team. And is that OK because they might have been on a good or great team? No, that doesn’t make sense to me! It’s not about the team, is it? It’s about the individual player. If you want to argue that Zimmerman himself (or Dunn, etc.) does not deserve to go because of his on-field performance this year, then you may have a legitimate argument (albeit one with which I do not agree). But to argue the fact based on how his team is doing makes no sense. Otherwise we wouldn’t be voting for individual players – we’d be voting for one entire team to represent the NL or AL in the All-Star Game.

Posted by: justmyopinion11 | June 17, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Excellent points, justmy. I'd also add players who garnered many votes because they were from large media markets.

---

Can you honestly tell me that in years past there have not been players on great teams who personally are having terrible or so-so years (i.e., not an All-Star quality year) yet still got many of the fan votes just because of their overall popularity or reputation?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

So that's a Bog fail?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"Bog Fail."
That is pretty funny natsfan1a1.

Posted by: ilovethenats | June 17, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Boggyman - you notice onthat tee shirt that it had Milledge's name on it?

The real scandal, to which you should devote your investigative skill and Pulitzer-wannabe efforts would be to find out how many votes he actually got, and whether MLB disqualified Milledge votes for obvious signs of vote-bot-fraud.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

> a third basemen (even one with the yips)

Make that a third baseman with the yips and a thirty-game hitting streak, Dan. The only thing you could ever hope to do successfully thirty days in a row would be to pull a giant booger out of your nose, you cheesehead you.

Posted by: section417 | June 18, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Bog Fail. Talk about redundancy...

Posted by: section417 | June 18, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Fine, fine, maybe this was a bad post. I'm not trying to say that Zim doesn't deserve to be an all-star (though I would say that about Dunn). I'm trying to say that mounting a team-based campaign for a team like this is just a little off-putting. Obviously it was planned before the record came into focus, but I'd have shelved the Vote Nats t-shirts somewhere around April 14.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | June 18, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"I'm trying to say that mounting a team-based campaign for a team like this is just a little off-putting. Obviously it was planned before the record came into focus, but I'd have shelved the Vote Nats t-shirts somewhere around April 14."

ALL teams do these kind of campaigns - or if they don't, they should. So there's absolutely nothing wrong with the Nats doing it. And there was nothing wrong with the Vote for Nats T-shirt except for the unfortunate inclusion of Milledge on it. But that wasn't the Nats' fault, because MLB determines the players to be listed on the All Star ballot before the season even starts. They were caught between a rock and a hard place on that. Either they leave Milledge's name on their shirt and get ridiculed for that, or they very conspicuously make him the only one of their team's players on the ballot but not on the shirt. They would have gotten at least as much if not more ridicule from jerks like Steinberg if they'd done that.

Posted by: section417 | June 18, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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